February 12, 2014

Another Debt Ceiling Hike

Republicans put up a good fight – too bad it was against each other.

Showing the fierce infighting within the Republican Party and the utter lack of courage among many congressional members claiming “R” status, the House last night voted 221-201 to approve a one-year extension of the debt ceiling, without even putting up a fight. The federal debt currently stands at $17.3 trillion. Just 28 Republicans, mostly leadership, voted “yes.” Of the multiple options begging for use as bargaining chips against the spendthrift Obama administration and its congressional cadres – from repealing the ObamaCare bailout of insurance companies to requiring approval of the Keystone pipeline – House Republicans couldn’t agree on a single one of them to use as a bargaining chip.

We suppose it’s a small victory that at least they didn’t undo the minor spending cuts won two months ago by adjusting military pensions. Some Republicans wanted to raise the debt ceiling only in exchange for more spending. Brilliant. (However, the House did pass that adjustment separately.) House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), no doubt still licking his wounds from last year’s government shutdown, pined, “We don’t have 218 votes. And when you don’t have 218 votes, you have nothing.”

Perhaps Boehner has nothing, but thanks to him and his fellow Republicans, the White House is one step closer to having a blank check good through March 15, 2015. What’s worse, as the Heritage Foundation notes, “The government has actually been operating since October with no debt limit in place. Congress ‘suspended’ it twice last year.” So the extension is an extension of the suspension, which raises the obvious question: If the debt ceiling rises all but automatically each time we hit it, what good is it?

But don’t worry, we’re sure that when the administration continues to borrow and spend exorbitantly, Republicans will put up a fight. Actually, that’s not quite fair – they’re already fighting, just with each other. There is one silver lining: As Boehner said, “We’re not going to make ourselves the story,” so the primary election-year fight can still be about ObamaCare.

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